The gray skies overhead these last two days are a perfect reflection of my heart this morning. I am hesitant to complain since there is much in my life for which I should be deeply grateful, and yet – the sad remains. It is deeper than a mood, hanging on like a headache; you know the ones that do not keep you home in bed but that make your day miserable with the throbbing pain. Why the sadness? There is the ‘aloneness’ that is ever present since Bev’s death 17 months ago. Though I have many good friends, I am incomplete. And, there was the call last night, the woman’s voice weak, to ask my prayer for her, the cancer not relenting before the attack of the chemo. Cancer, it’s a hated word! And there is Death. Monday, I stood beside yet another aged Christian and prayed her through the valley. Despite her advanced age, my heart was ripped by the close encounter with the Last Enemy.
I could add to the list … but you could as well. On this side of heaven we all know grief, don’t we?
In grief there is a place to let ourselves be broken, to sit down or kneel down, to release the reins on our emotions, to sob or scream or moan. Jesus did! In Gethsemane He begged His friends to pray with Him and cried to His Father for release, “if you are willing, take this cup from me.” His emotion may be somewhat sanitized by our distance from that moment, but have no doubt – He was broken!
Yet, He was brave. He did not run into the darkness or avoid the pain. He stood and faced His Cross with acceptance – of the will of God and the hope of the purpose wrapped in mysterious pain.
Perhaps you, like I, are somewhere between broken and brave.
So often, there in the dark of the waiting, the Liar whispers that the joke is on us, that there is no purpose in it, that we struggle for good and God in vain. As he has done for ages, since the first Garden, he dangles the allure of another place, a new sensation, a place apart from service and faithfulness in front of us. “There,” he hisses, “you will find some solace or at least some pleasure.”
He came to Jesus, too, in His lonely place and urged Him to use holy power to make stones into bread, to seek expedient solutions, and to demand God’s rescue. (Matthew 4) Jesus was broken by the tests, but brave, too. He stood on the Word and spoke with holy courage – “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” (Matthew 4:10-11, NLT)
“Oh, Lord, send the angels!” I pray. Is that your cry, too?
Faith asks much of us sometimes, but there is a rich reward at the Completion. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36, NIV) Be brave today! We are loved and loving – not an idea – but a Man who knows our sorrows.
“And our God is not a God to merely believe, but to experience,
not to only believe in, but be held by.
A God who not only breaks for you — but breaks with you,|
a God to not only have creeds about — but to have communion with,
a God who not only who dies for you, but who cries with you,
the God who touches you and binds you and blesses you and heals you and re-members you
because He let Himself be dismembered and
He is the God we not only believe in— but we know.” – Ann Voscamp
Stand up, child of God. There is work to be done and the Promise of His Presence to give us strength for the day.